Label: Werewolf Records
Release date: 19 April 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Stream
“It is BLACK metal and not black METAL”
Black metal is fundamentally about decay, radical individualism, misanthropy. It is about the loss of faith and the hysterical fear and sadness that come with it. It is very little about being intellectual and very much about wanting and trying to break every little thing apart. It is about celebrating some darkened, mystifying tales. Think about the tale of Maria Akerblom, a leader of the Finnish Akerblom movement (an evangelical movement often described as a sect active in Finland) which took place in the late 1910s and the early 1920s, a “sleeping preacher” who used to deliver her prophecies in a trance like state. Synthesize it with an album cover which represents a cabin where 3 people were stabbed to death in 1932 and an album title which translates to “revelations”. Unfold all these tales of darkness, extermination, and agony in the mould of black noise and you get “Ilmystykset” by FORGJORD.
FORGJORD has been a taciturn present in Finish Black metal scene from 1995. Finnish black metal is very versatile and enriched with some prodigious presences like all other metal genre…it’s Finland you know. From the older days of Alghazanth to the modern days of Vargrav, Finland has had its’ share of bands in the melodic, symphonic spectrum of black metal. But what has always defined Finnish black metal to me is the rawness, darkness, harshness and ugliness. Think about Morgal, think about Sargiest, think about Beherit, think about Satanic Warmaster and countless other legendary names…it’s always so shadowy, it’s always so cold, it’s always so resentful and sorrowful. FORGJORD has been carrying this flag of uncompromised, unapologetic black metal from the depths of Finish black metal underground for a long time. They have gone through some member changes in their earlier years. But Valgrinder and Prokrustes have hold this band together for the last 20 years and they have added BLK on drums since 2013. FORGJORD has always been about quality over quantity. They released a compilation of their earlier demos in 2006 and released 3 full lengths since then before “Ilmystykset”. Musically they have always been about grimness, blackness and their lyrics have covered some mysterious, stygian sides of Finnish history too. They previously wrote songs about Kylliki Sarri’s murder (Suohauta), about a local man who hanged himself in a shallow shed by the river after stabbing his wife (Surman virta), about Juhani Aataminpoika who killed 12 people in a killing spree in 1849 (Kerpeikkari). So as you can see, their music has always been about “revelations”. They have gone through some changes in band name too. First it was Brightness of Darkness, then it was Winterflesh and finally they settled for FORGJORD. The meaning of FORGJORD is very interesting too. It’s a Swedish word which translates to cursed or destroyed. In ancient times, people were really scared of ” bad things” like fox, demons, bears and Gods. So they were not supposed to speak their “true names” out loud cause they thought they would invite the bad things to them. If someone called their names out loud, he/she was cursed or FORGJORD. So it fits very well with their music which is all about summoning the darkness, summoning the interdictions. Now let’s talk about musical aspects of this new album “Ilmystykset”.
The journey of divulgence starts with some old invocation of wickedness filled with little cursed words, terrorizing atmosphere followed by their characteristic resentful, misanthropic, unyielding blackened onslaught which really peaks at “Maailma Palaa”. But I shouldn’t forget “Orjahuoran Laulu” (Slavewhore song) here…the hideous, dissonant riffs are soon followed up by some haunting, brutal, impudent annihilation with some touches of doomy, gloomy riffing and mournfulness later too which will give you a perfect sense of what awaits. Now to “Maiilma Palaa” (World burns). It starts with some dulcet little riffs mashed up with some bewitching sense of aura in the background. You’ll notice that use of organ throughout the album which will create an extra wretched, melancholic, primitive layer. There will be some more Finnish words used in the background (you’ll see the use of them a lot in the album which will give an added sense of mystery) with that atmosphere before the verse kicks off and I think those words are very fitting representation of this ugly album. The words are taken from a 1989 Finnish war film (Talvisota/Winter war) which translate to something like “we wanted peace but others wouldn’t let us have that”. When the verse starts thwacking your soul after that, you’ll feel “peace, calmness” are not to be found here. The harrowing voice of Prokrustes which make you feel like thousand demons are scourging your brain, the mash-ups of melancholic melodies with jaw-dropping, heart-ripping black n roll assault will let you wander through a Finnish sacrilegious forest under a funeral moon while all the phantoms and evil witches are haunting you. And they are not in a mood to ever stop. “Kaksitoesta kuolemma” (Twelve deaths) is another masterpiece which starts with a touch of sorrowful ambience but soon proceeds to some great mingle of raw, cold Finnish black metal and old school heavy metal. Satanic Warmaster meets Judas priest, eh? A few words about the drumming. It’s simple, tight and compact but suddenly it will pierce ur heart with some relentless double bass kicks when you expect them the least. “Maailma Palaa” and “Kaksitoista kuolemaa” are surely gonna be two of my most played tracks this year. “Surmanluodit” (Killer bullets) is a chance to take some respite with some touchy lead works & consecrated atmosphere. But then the incursion will resume again with “Pohjolan soturi” (Northern warrior) in which you will find again that all the harshness, coldness, melancholies and classic heavy metal riffing will produce some awe-inspiring environs. “Kaikkivaltias” (Almighty) is the swan song and it’s all about going back to the forefathers of Finnish bleakness. It’s torturing, it’s freezing, it’s beautifully ugly, it’s pure fucking BLACK metal.
When the journey is over, you’ll be filled with a sense of hollowness and you’ll keep wandering which is this storm that hit you so unceremoniously? It’s so thunderous, it’s so mesmerizing and it’s not “just music”. It’s about expressing our deepest fears, our darkest secrets. I’ll just let Valgrinder have the final words here and explain what FORGJORD truly represents – “Finnish culture is more than just sauna and beautiful paintings of Akselli Gallen-Kallela. It’s also a sorrow, it’s drunken people stabbing their loved ones, it’s hanging yourself and none even noticed that you’re gone. It’s unhappy childhood and being scarred for life. It’s repeating those same mistakes your father did before you.” 10/10 Apollo
1o/10 Immortal Classic
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